Lot 617
  • 617

George Condo

2,000,000 - 3,000,000 HKD
bidding is closed


  • George Condo
  • The Housekeeper's Diary
  • acrylic and charcoal on canvas
signed and dated 07, framed


Galerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich
Private American Collection
Acquired by the present owner from the above

Catalogue Note

The 21st Century Cubist

"My painting is all about this interchangeability of languages in art, where one second you might feel the background has the shading and tonalities you would see in a Rembrandt portrait, but the subject is completely different and painted like some low-culture, transgressive mutation of a comic strip.”1

Since the early 1980s, the American painter George Condo has created a celebrated body of work with a global following. House Keeper's Diary from 2007 (Lot 617) is a whimsical painting that perfectly reflects Condo’s humour, draftsmanship and unique ability to reference art history to create something entirely new and his own. Set against a grisaille background, the viewer is presented here with an unusual portrait. The painting appears to be a traditional portrait at first glance; but a myriad of details emerge – a hand on the left shoulder, a male head at the right tip of the head, and multiple eyes and mouths confront the viewer. The work is part drawing, part painting. As the artist himself said: “I love to draw and I love to paint and I thought, why should there be any distinction or hierarchy between the those two mediums? Why not put them together as a single thing.”2 

Condo’s vision as an artist has gone beyond the confines of museum walls into the mainstream – with projects such as Kanye West’s 2010 album cover work for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – he has become one of the most innovative and influential artists of his generation.

Since his early days as an artist in New York, Condo was a friend and peer of the likes of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat; the artist also worked for eight months in Andy Warhol’s Factory early in the decade. Having then moved to Paris until 1995, Condo immersed himself in the painterly tradition and studied the art of the past in depth.

As beautifully illustrated in the present lot, Condo offers a kaleidoscopic array of art historical references - from the Renaissance through to Cubism, from Surrealism to Abstract Expressionism and Pop. With its decidedly Cubist approach, Picasso’s influence on Condo is easily detected here. However, Condo juxtaposes Picasso’s Cubism with a comic distortion of his own, which he terms as ‘Psychological Cubism’. House Keeper has a psychological element torn between the comic and the tragic, the beautiful and the grotesque. Ultimately, it is a work that illustrates Condo’s technical virtuosity as well as his daring and constantly evolving style.

[1] George Condo quoted by Julie Belcove in Financial Times, 21 April 2013

[2] Refer to 1

Artist Biography

George Condo (b. 1957, USA) attended the University of Massachusetts where he studied Art History and Music Theory. In the 1980s Condo coined the term “Artificial Realism,” to describe his work, which he defined as, “the realistic representation of that which is artificial.” Condo’s work shows influence from his friendships with his contemporaries including Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. His works have been included in exhibitions at many prestigious museums including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Buffalo; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo;Fonds National d'Art Contemporain, Ministere de la Culture, Paris, Museu d'Art Contemporani, Barcelona, the Kunsthalle Bielefeld in Germany, the Musee Maillol, Paris, The Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey, Mexico, Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, Nice, France, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Germany, Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.